Unlocking Benevolence: A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding Zakat

Zakat, often translated as “purification” or “almsgiving,” is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, constituting a mandatory act of worship for all Muslims who meet specific wealth criteria. It involves donating a fixed portion of your wealth to specified categories of people in need each year.

Here’s a breakdown of its key characteristics:

Obligation: Mandatory for Muslims fulfilling specific wealth requirements.

Motivation: Religious duty and purification of wealth.


  • 2.5% of all your liquid assets (e.g., cash, savings, investments) exceeding a minimum threshold known as Nisab.
  • Specific rates might apply to other types of wealth like livestock or agricultural produce.


  • Eight categories outlined in the Quran: the poor, the needy, debtors, travelers, new converts to Islam, those fighting for God’s cause, those in administrative roles managing Zakat, and wayfarers.

Frequency: Due once a year after a lunar year passes from when your wealth reached the Nisab threshold.


  • Considered the third most important pillar of Islam after prayer and fasting.
  • Seen as a way to purify wealth and promote social justice.
  • Can have a significant impact on poverty reduction and community development.

Distinction from Sadaqa:

  • Zakat is mandatory, while Sadaqa is voluntary charity.
  • Zakat has specific rules and recipients, while Sadaqa is more flexible.

Note: The details of Zakat calculation and distribution can vary depending on individual interpretations and local practices. It’s recommended to consult with a qualified religious scholar for specific guidance on fulfilling your Zakat obligations.


  • Conditions to Zakat
  • Zakat Asset
  • Assets that are greater than the value of a minimum
  • Successful completion of Haul
  • Beneficiaries of Zakat

Zakat is among the main religious obligations of Islam. In its literal meaning, zakat is the Arabic word for “purify”. It’s the purification process of a faith-based person’s spiritual and financial wealth.

Wealth purification refers to the mobilization of wealth for financial gain and a just distribution. Purification of the soul means freedom from jealousy, hatred, self-interest, narcissism, and greed. There are other Quranic implications also pertain to the cleansing of sin.

Zakat is a set amount taken from a religious person’s earnings and surplus wealth. It is divided among the specified beneficiaries and is used for well-being as well as the general infrastructure of society. The money is due by a Muslim each year.

Zakat is paid out of the net balance after the Muslim has paid for basic needs, family expenses due to credit tax, donations and other expenses. Each Muslim female or male who, at the close of the Hijri year, has possession of gold more than 85 grams of money or trade items must pay their Zakat in the minimum amount of 2.5 per cent.

Zakat has a deep social and humanitarian significance. The religious practice prevents wealth accumulation and promotes solidarity with the world because excess wealth is divided between people experiencing poverty. Zakat’s offering assists in purifying one’s soul and helps one be grateful for God’s blessings.

Zakat is mentioned in conjunction with Salat (prayer) within the 30 verses in the Quran. It first appeared in Surah 73:20.

“…. and make regular prayers, offer regular donations; and lend God a beautiful loan. God, that’s a gorgeous loan. Whatever good you send to your souls and souls, you’ll be blessed by God’s grace. It will be better and more rewarding in rewards and search for the mercy of God. He is a God of mercy, The Most Merciful.”

In a different passage, God declares that those who pay the zakat are part of the Muslim society.

“But (even as) should they repent, make regular prayer times, and engage in regular charity They are your brothers to Faith: (thus) do The Signs are explained in detail for those who can comprehend.” (9:11)

God affirms that in the Quran:

“They were only commanded to worship God and to be sincere in their belief in Him and of a godly religious belief – and to create the Salat and the Zakat. This is the righteous faith (98:5)

“Those who hoard treasures of silver and gold and don’t spend them to the will of God Give them their news about a severe punishment on the day where that (wealth) is burned in the fire of hell and their foreheads, their sides, as well as their backs, will be marked with the words: “This is the treasure that you hid for yourself! Take a bite and then taste the treasure you’ve hoarded!” (9:34-35).

“Let not those grumpy with the things God has provided them with of His abundance think it is a good thing for them. It is harmful to them. What they keep from them will be tied around their necks upon the arising day. Day of Arising. (3:180)

Bukhari and Muslims discuss that Ibn Abbas said that the Messenger of God sent Mu’adh to Yemen. He told him, “You are about to meet a people with A Scripture.

Therefore, you must ask them to prove that there is no god other than God and that I’m the messenger of God. If they accept this, you should teach the children that God has decreed five Salats on them daily.

If they are receptive to this, then explain to their children that God has given them a charity that must be taken from those rich in their community and then distributed to the poor.

If they accept this, do not be tempted into not taking more of their fortune! Be wary of praying for the poor because there is no barrier between the prayer of the oppressed or prayer and God.”

Then, he read the scripture: “Let not those who are naive with the blessings that God has bestowed to them from His abundance think that it is beneficial for them. Instead, it’s not good for them. Anything they do not divulge will be placed on their necks at”the Day of Arising.” (3:180)

Conditions for Zakat

There are several conditions to be met before zakat can be granted. These requirements are essential as Zakat is only available to those of legal age with enough assets. The conditions are classified into two broad categories: asset and performer.

Everyone Muslim who is over a certain age and has enough assets must pay the zakat.

Zakat Asset

A full-ownership Muslim can only be legally required to pay Zakat when they hold the full and legal title to an asset.

Zakat is only due on assets purchased to create or generate wealth. Examples of this kind of asset include livestock or crops that are sold or traded in the inventory of the goods used for trading, as well as investment options like gold and securities that have the potential to appreciate.

Zakat isn’t payable on permanent assets, such as buildings, as long as they are not subject to “capital circulation”.

Assets that are greater than a minimum value

Zakat can only be paid for assets greater than the minimum value. This value uses the market price of 595g or 85g pure gold. This value is known as Nisab. According to the Islamic Fiqh and Research Councils and Jumhur (majority) of Ulama, gold should be used to calculate the niqab.

Finalization of Haul

Haul is the time of completion of a zakat asset. The period for the haul period is the length of one Islamic (or Hijri calendar year (1 year Hijri equals 354.5 days. One year of solar is 365.25 days). Zakat is only due on assets kept for a minimum of this time.

Zakat beneficiaries

The Holy Quran (9:60) classifies Zakat’s due recipients according to the following categories.

“Zakat can be used for those who are weak, and those in need, and the people who work to collect and administer it, as well as for the newest converts, and also for those who are bound and are in debt, as well as for those who are in the serving the cause of God and also for travellers, a duty that is that was ordained by God, and God is the All-knowing, the Wise”.

Zakat can be granted to any of the eight eligible beneficiaries (asnaf), which are mentioned within the Quran in Surah Taubah:60. But, the prioritization should be given to those who are poor and the needy. Without a central authority to administer Zakat, it may be given directly to people experiencing poverty.

“Alms are given to those who are poor and in need and for those who manage the (funds) for those whose hearts have been (recently) restored (to Truth) or for those who are with debts and bonds and in debt to God and for the wanderer: (thus is it) the will of God and God is full of wisdom and knowledge.” (9:60)

1. A poor (Faqir/Fuqara)

The people who are without a source of income and possessions.

2. The poor (Miskeen)

– People who need the means to earn enough money to cover their basic needs. For example, people may have a job, an apartment, or a car but whose income is less than the minimum amount required.

3. The people who manage zakat (Amil)

The ones who are tasked with managing and overseeing Zakat. This category is subdivided into the following groups:

  • A group of people who are part of the society and decide if they belong to the Fuqara and Miskeen categories.
  • The people who collect the Zakat cash.
  • A financial accountant for the Zakat money.
  • The manager, administrator or clerical worker who arranges the file in order.
  • People who manage Zakat distributions.
  • The auditor reviews the overall Zakat, the management, and the administration.

4. The sympathizers (Muallaf-at-Quloobuhum)

The ones who are inclined to Islam or those who’ve accepted Islam.

5. To release enslaved people (Riqab)

Zakat is also used to free enslaved people and captives.

6. People who are in the process of settling their debt (Gharimin)

Zakat can be used to pay off outstanding debts of a person who borrowed money to cover the cost of necessities to lead a normal person’s life. Zakat is also handed out to people struggling financially, e.g. bankruptcy because of the loss of work or heavy debt.

7. To the cause of God (Fisabillillah)

Zakat can be used to pay for any struggle or work to serve God’s cause. Some of the following instances fall in the category of Da’wah, building and creating infrastructure for society, protecting Muslims who are victimized, helping the poor traveller, and assisting a student’s education costs.

8. Stranded people on a trip (Ibnus Sabil)

Zakat-Zakat is also a way to aid a traveller who needs help completing his journey because of financial loss or breakdown of their vehicles that the traveller cannot afford.

The Prophet said, “If one gives charity equal to a single date, based on honest earnings and God does not accept anything less than honest, God accepts it into the right hand, and increases it for the person who is responsible, as you are raising a foal, and it grows like the size of a mountain.


Categories: PRAYER (Salat), ALMS (Zakat), SAWN (Fasting) HAJJ (Pilgrimage) & DUA (Supplications), Hadith and Tafseer, The Holy Quran, Quran Jaz 1- 114

Topics:  Ushr and Zakat, Hijab, Arabic Corner, Faith, Islamic History, Biography, Sirat ul Nabi PBUH,  Islamic Studies, Halal & Haram

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